Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles primary partial returns show four clear frontrunners for re-election and one runoff

Jano le Roux
Four members of the Los Angeles City Council are leading their opponents, while a fifth is in a close runoff.Getty / spxChrome

According to partial returns, four members of the Los Angeles City Council were ahead in their reelection campaigns on Tuesday, with a fifth facing a runoff on November 8.

According to the results, Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield and Monica Rodriguez, who represent opposing sides of the San Fernando Valley, were well ahead of their competitors.

Curren Price, a South Los Angeles councilman, was far ahead of his lone opponent on the vote, Dulce Vasquez. The election was framed as a referendum on Price’s progressive, constructive, and inclusive leadership.

Councilman Gil Cedillo held a slimmer advantage over community activist Eunisses Hernandez in an Eastside district extending from Highland Park to Pico-Union. Hernandez ran a campaign for stronger tenant safeguards and diverted funds away from the Los Angeles Police Department and into other initiatives.

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell seemed to be headed for a runoff against Hugo Soto-Martinez, whose campaign represents hotel employees, in a district that spans from Echo Park to Hollywood.

In a runoff election, Soto-Martinez said he’ll focus on O’Farrell’s backing from real estate interests and the district’s need for change, which includes Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and Windsor Square.

According to Soto-Martinez, the campaign was about the city “working for the people”.

In a statement, O’Farrell expressed his appreciation to his backers. He explained that serving on the Los Angeles City Council is all about “public service” and not for “purist politics and ideology”.

Once the outcomes of Tuesday’s down-ballot elections are finalized, they will result in the most substantial shift at City Hall in nearly a decade, with three new elected officials and, at minimum, three new members of the City Council.

Tim McOsker seems to be heading for a runoff against community organizer Danielle Sandoval in L.A.’s port region. Both are aiming to succeed Councilman Joe Buscaino, who will retire later this year.

Katy Young Yaroslavsky, a political assistant on the Westside, had a sizable lead against Sam Yebri, putting her on the edge of avoiding a second round. Voters, according to Yaroslavsky, who has worked as an assistant to county Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, are looking for people who have done the job.

In the fight to succeed City Controller Ron Galperin, Kenneth Mejia and City Councilman Paul Koretz were dominating a pool of six candidates in Tuesday’s citywide contest.

Meanwhile, Marina Torres, a former prosecutor, and Richard Kim, were topping a field of seven contenders vying to succeed City Attorney, Mike Feuer. They will participate in the November 8 showdown if the situation remains.

Torres said that her early lead in the competition demonstrated how agitated Angelenos had gotten about homelessness and public safety concerns.

Kim delivered a remarkably identical message, claiming that early polling shows that his emphasis on crime and corruption is popular among citizens.

Close behind Torres and Kim was Hydee Feldstein Soto, who ran on the premise that she’s uniquely qualified for the position — and that she had no plans to run for any other office.

On the Westside, Erin Darling and Traci Park were atop a field of eight hopefuls fighting to succeed Councilman Mike Bonin, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Darling, who was backed by Bonin, campaigned on a platform of improved tenant rights and non-criminalizing homelessness methods.

The great majority of this year’s races focused on homelessness, with some candidates emphasizing the number of encampments dotting city sidewalks. Others targeted legislation that empowers city council members to declare some areas off-limits to camping, such as schools, libraries, and other public buildings.

Several contenders have vowed to abolish the ordinance and seek to prevent it from being broadened to include sidewalks near all public schools.

Another hot topic was public safety, with multiple candidates signing a promise to “no new police” sponsored by Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles. Some even went so far as to declare they advocated the LAPD’s complete abolition.

Supporters of O’Farrell and Cedillo, notably the rank-and-file police officers union, targeted Hernandez and Soto-Martinez, accusing them of taking risky positions on public safety. Soto-Martinez and Hernandez chastised O’Farrell and Cedillo for the union’s and the California Apartment Association’s backing.

Mejia, who was leading the field of controller candidates, endorsed the idea of diverting funds away from the LAPD and towards other programs, such as a $1,000-per-month guaranteed income scheme for low-income families.

Koretz, who served on the council for three terms, cautioned that additional cops are needed to combat the growing number of killings, thefts, and other offenses. He said that he intends to build on the support that the four other candidates have received while emphasizing Mejia’s views on police and other topics.

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